VPS hosting is one of the fastest-growing hosting niches. A growing number of hosting providers are offering value-added services, and this is gaining momentum as the concept of cloud computing becomes more popular. However, the proliferation of VPS providers has made choosing a host more difficult! The more choices there are, the more confusion buyers can have. But that’s not necessarily the case. In this article, we will give you some tips to help you decide on your first “virtualized” hosting.
The first and most important thing to consider is the age of the VPS provider – we’ve all heard the horror stories about hosting companies that were run by teenagers and disappeared overnight. We don’t want you to get burned the same way. So be careful. Experience is king. Especially in the hosting industry. If your hosting provider hasn’t had experience recovering from a double disk failure, a 300Mbit DDOS attack, or working with WHT.com PR, then you have a lot to learn. And personally, I would prefer to host with a VPS provider with real experience.
The next thing many people are interested in is reviews: a quick Google search for “VPS hosting reviews” will reveal hundreds of so-called “independent reviews” full of interesting reviews. Some are good, some are bad, but overall you have to take them with a grain of salt. It’s a sad fact, but many bad VPS providers post fake positive reviews to fool unsophisticated customers. These review sites can be very helpful in investigating negative reviews. If you see a lot of bad reviews one after the other, with a general flavor of confirmation between them, it’s best not to buy from that provider. Why not at least start with a trial VPS?
So if you can’t trust the review sites, where should you look? A good source is the webhostingtalk.com forum. This is the most popular hosting forum on the Internet and it is professionally moderated. Our company, EuroVPS, has extensive experience with this forum and can personally confirm that the moderators treat scammers and shameful self-promoters with extreme prejudice. Just use the search function and look for relevant threads about the VPS hosting provider you are considering. And remember the first point. Experience. The history of the forum on this site will probably reveal the entire history of the company, as this forum has been a pioneer since the beginning of this decade. Seriously – you should check it out!
The next factor you should consider when choosing a VPS hosting provider is the level of transparency. It’s always nice to see pictures of the company’s hardware and infrastructure. Many VPS providers rent out their hardware. While this is a very good business model in the short term, it usually leads to hosting expansion issues in the long term. This can affect the quality of customer service.
Imagine the following scenario: A VPS provider has had a great year and has sold thousands of VPSs. It is expanding its fleet of leased servers by the dozen. If sales fail to materialize next year, the company still has to pay server bills to, say, Softlayer or another dedicated server vendor, since it likely has a one-year contract. This can lead to cash flow problems. For example, if Softlayer doesn’t get paid, they don’t care if you have 2000 VPS relying on them. They will shut you down. No payment, no play. As a result, ISP customers are stuck, sometimes without their data. I’ve seen this movie many times, and it’s one of the reasons why it’s usually safest to host with an ISP that runs its infrastructure-free and clear.
Transparency is one of the things that the discerning consumer is increasingly demanding. For this reason, the industry is moving to use social media and blogging tactics to gain consumer trust. This brings me to my next point. Look at a company’s Twitter history and see what real people are saying about the company. Twitter is much harder to fool than those silly review sites because there are usually real people there. Of course, there are fake accounts created for self-promotional purposes, but those are usually very easy to spot.
There are many excellent VPS providers that you can choose from. But to find them, you need to do your homework. Your VPS provider is the lifeline of your website. And for many people, it can be the difference between paying their rent on time or not. So it’s ridiculous to take a chance with an unproven or questionable VPS provider just because it was recommended by a friend who is probably a partner anyway.